The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Morgan State University a ‘National Treasure.’
This significant designation is crucial to the preservation strategy for Morgan State and long-term planning for the largest historically Black college in Baltimore, Maryland.
While many Black colleges around the country are struggling financially, it’s gratifying to learn that a prominent institution like Morgan State has been identified by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a landmark campus.
“The National Trust believes Historically Black Colleges and Universities tell an important and often overlooked American story,” Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in a statement. “We are proud to partner with Morgan State University– a nationally recognized innovator and education leader– to demonstrate how the preservation of their remarkable older buildings can be a springboard for growth, rejuvenation, and revitalization.”
Morgan State was founded in 1867 as one of the nation’s earliest institutions to offer post-secondary education for African-Americans and the largest in the state of Maryland.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation said Morgan State University’s urban campus “has an impressive collection of historic buildings.”
“At a time when majority college campuses are protecting the names on buildings of people who advocated for slavery, now more than ever, we should be telling the story of the efforts of HBCUs to preserve the historic buildings on their campuses that tell often overlooked narratives of Black history,” a spokeswoman for the Trust said in an email.
According to the Trust, Morgan State’s landscape features 20 contributing structures—ranging from Classical and Italianate to Modern and Brutalist—eligible for listing on the National Register. Buildings on the campus were designed by pioneering and celebrated black architects such as Albert Cassell, Hilyard Robinson, Louis Fry, and Leon Bridges.
“We have known of Morgan’s significance on the higher education stage for many years and now, as we prepare to celebrate our 150th anniversary, the world will know that, in fact, this university is a national treasure,” David Wilson, president of Morgan State University, said in a statement. “We are very excited and honored by this designation from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In many ways, it is recognition of the value we have placed on caring for and preserving the history of the great Morgan State University.”
Over the years, according to the Trust, Morgan State has tried to preserve portions of the campus, including the restoration of University Chapel, the only building individually listed on the National Register.
Morgan State has always been a leader in research and innovation.
Last year, I wrote about a young man named Ayooluwakiitan Oluwafemi, 13, who proudly displayed a rubber smart-phone case that he designed on a 3D printing machine.
“It’s a prototype,” the Baltimore middle-school student said softly during a visit to Morgan State.
College officials announced an unprecedented partnership with Verizon Wireless. The Minority Male Makers Program (MMMP) introduces young black men to opportunities in the STEM field, short for science, technology, engineering, and math.
This initiative is a first-of-its-kind, two-year program that offers 700 black male students hands-on experience in advanced technology, critical thinking and problem solving. These skills should help these young Americans compete in a digital, fast-paced, global marketplace.The program will be offered to high-achieving African-American and Hispanic seventh and eighth-graders.
These gifted young students of color will learn about engineering and math inside the historic buildings on Morgan State’s campus,which has always been a symbol of educational excellence, but now holds another prestigious classification: National Treasure.